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Jury asked to return manslaughter verdict

Last updated 11:48 14/12/2012

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A jury has been asked to return a manslaughter verdict against one of the men accused of murdering journalist Phillip Cottrell.

In the High Court at Wellington this afternoon the lawyer for Nicho Allan Waipuka, Paul Paino, said Waipuka acknowledged the "terrible" crime of manslaughter for punching Mr Cottrell once and causing a fatal fall onto concrete, and taking his wallet.

What Waipuka is alleged to have said afterwards, suggesting he had punched Mr Cottrell more than once and kicked him, was nothing more than bravado, Mr Paino said. Waipuka has denied making those statements.

When the jury was considering whether Waipuka would have appreciated the consequences of a punch they should take into account his age and experience. If Waipuka's experience in life was You Tube and video games where people get shot and get up again, then that was relevant, Mr Paino said.

Earlier today the jury learned that Waipuka offered to plead guilty of manslaughter in March.

Detective Senior Sergeant Scott Miller agreed under cross examination that the offer was made in a letter from Waipuka's lawyer.

Waipuka, 20, is on trial alongside Manuel Renera Robinson, 18, who have both pleaded not guilty of murdering Mr Cottrell.

Mr Cottrell, 43, was attacked walking home at about 5.30am after a night shift at Radio New Zealand where he was a bulletin editor.

He died the next day from severe head injuries.

Waipuka admits hitting Mr Cottrell and taking his wallet. Robinson says he was on the other side of the street and not involved.

But in the opening words of his final address to the jury Crown Prosecutor Grant Burston said both accused were aggressive to other strangers in the early hours of December 10, last year. Both made admissions to various people afterwards, Mr Burston said.

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- The Dominion Post

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